APWorks Announces Aircraft 3D Printing Partnership With SAP

Following a partnership between SAP and UPS, which will see more 3d printers inside UPS stores so end users can create their products more locally, the German software giant is now teaming up with another heavyweight to leverage 3d printing.

APWorks, a subsidiary of European aerospace giant Airbus, which focuses on advanced materials and additive manufacturing (3d printing), made headlines earlier this year when it 3d printed an entire electric motorcycle.


The partnership just announced at the Farnborough International Airshow in England means that APWorks will be 3d printing more airplane parts for Airbus to lighten the aircraft's weight, decrease the cost of these parts and offer easier ways to redesign parts as needed.

"The ability to 3D print all the possible components of an A350 aircraft could reduce the weight of it by nearly a ton," said Joachim Zettler, CEO of APWorks. "On-demand 3D printing cloud service from SAP can help us to develop our vision for distributed, on-demand production of aerospace components and still meet the high quality standards necessary to make the aircraft fly."

Airbus has been pursuing numerous 3d printing applications for its aircrafts, including the full production of a drone earlier this year.

"In the next few years 3D printing will be widely adopted across manufacturing industries," said Torsten Welte, global head of Aerospace and Defense Industry at SAP.  "The aerospace and defense market will transform digitally to strive to achieve near-zero unplanned downtime on commercial flights as well as support high production turnaround at a lower cost.

Welte also put emphasis on the so called "inventory" issue, which is a source of added cost for companies using 20th century manufacturing methods.

"What makes 3D printing most attractive in aerospace is the removal of many costs associated with traditional manufacturing like stocking inventory. Users are enabled to print the parts they need, as needed."

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